A tighter budget doesn’t mean that we can’t eat deliciously healthy food. Here are 7 tips on how to fill up on healthy foods with your wallet in mind.
1. Become a flexitarian.
A flexitarian diet is one that is plant-based with some occasional consumption of meat products. Meat as your primary protein can often be expensive, so it can be cheaper to minimize it in your diet by adding more veggies, whole grains and beans. Make meat the side dish or use a smaller portion of meat and bulk it up by adding lots of veggies. When making soups and stews, use less meat and add beans and grains to make them hearty.
Can’t go without meat for that long? Try it out just once a week first by having a Meatless Monday.
2. Find good quality, budget friendly recipes to try out.
Cooking Light.com, Eatingwell.com and Foodnetwork.com have many recipes focused on healthy eating on a budget. I was recently gifted a great cookbook called Good and Cheap: Eat Well on $4/Day by Leanne Brown. The pdf download on her website is free…score!
3. Organize before going to the grocery store
Plan out your meals, and don’t forget that you can also plan to make extra to freeze for a later time depending on what you’re making. This especially works well with casseroles, stews, soups and chili.
Take a small chunk of time one day out of the week, and write a simple menu guide. This is really useful in keeping you on track during the week when that question inevitably comes up. “Honey, what should we do about dinner?” That’s when the “I don’t know. What do you want for dinner” banter commences.
4. Consider going to ethnic supermarkets.
Items like fruits, veggies, beans, grains and spices are often significantly cheaper than at a traditional American supermarket.
5. Make a list and stick to it.
A bonus to this tip is that you will also get in and out of the store faster! The Environmental Working Group has a great Good Food on a Tight Budget guide that includes a handy shopping list template.
6. Don’t forget your club cards and digital coupons.
Load digital coupons onto your phone. Clipping paper coupons is a thing of the past, with grocers now have digital coupons you can load onto your card to be easily redeemed at checkout.
7. Don’t shop hungry.
Whatever you do….do not go to the store right after the gym or any other time when you are ravenously hungry. Unexpected items will mysteriously jump into your cart.
For more health-minded budget tips, check out the full article.
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Lindsey Pine, MS, RDN, CSSD, CLT is a Los Angeles-based dietitian, specializing in food sensitivities and culinary creations. Whether she’s working with students at University of Southern California or in her private practice, Lindsey helps others find the healthy foods that they love so help sustain their long-term success. To find your tastiest balance in life, connect with Lindsey at Tasty Balance Nutrition.